The Cast of 'Private Life' On the Taboo of Infertility

Director Tamara Jenkins and stars Kathryn Hahn and Kayli Carter sit down with The Hollywood Reporter In Studio.

Tamara Jenkins’ film Private Life takes audiences on the journey of infertility that many couples find themselves on. Starring Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti, the couple undergo numerous infertility therapies to create a family of their own, ultimately putting their relationship on edge and shining a light on the struggles and vulnerability that come with infertility.

Jenkins, along with stars Hahn and Kayli Carter, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter In Studio on how the film has opened up conversations on infertility issues for both women and men.

“All different kinds of people like the movie for different reasons, but then there’s some that really had similar experiences, that had their own fertility stories,” Jenkins said.

Carter spoke about an encounter she had with a couple at the Sundance Film Festival who went through a journey similar to the film. “To have perfect strangers showing you pictures of their kids and opening up a detail that is usually kept very quiet, for what reasons I don’t really know other than women being shamed about fertility and their bodies, what to do with them or having other people decide that for them, but we should talk about it.”

She continued: “Women [and their partners] should feel safe to talk about it and the thing I love about this is watching the partnership go through those changes between Richard (Giamatti) and Rachel (Hahn).”

Hahn also addressed the significance of the film's title, Private Life. “I think one can be so flippant to another person about what they’re going through in terms of how they’re making their family and I can’t imagine the pain it is to go through what this is. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your body betray you in those ways or feel like you’re on top of it and then imagine to not be able to do something you had been assuming was working.” 

She added: “I can understand people wanting to protect their experience, but I’m certainly glad — not that this is an issue movie. It’s a story about a marriage, but it is exciting that there is something out there that touches on it.”

“That makes people who go through this thing feel less alone,” Jenkins added.

Watch the video above to hear how Hahn and Giamatti bonded before filming and what it took to get the film made.